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    WIPO Committee Actively Drafting Treaty On Designs; Technical Assistance Up Next

    Published on 12 December 2012 @ 11:58 pm

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    The work on a potential new treaty on industrial designs law and practice is on full throttle at the World Intellectual Property Organization with delegates trying to agree on common rules and procedures. The new treaty is expected to make life easier for the millions of industrial designs applicants worldwide.

    The Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT) is meeting from 10-14 December with a unique focus on advancing work the potential new instrument, in particular on the draft articles and draft rules.

    The draft agenda was modified on the first day, when the Development Agenda Group of countries (DAG) requested that discussion on a study presented at the last session of the SCT be added to the agenda [pdf].

    The Study [pdf] on the Potential Impact of the Work of the Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT) on Industrial Design Law and Practice was prepared by the WIPO secretariat with the involvement of WIPO Chief Economist Carsten Fink. The study had originally been requested by developing countries with the aim of evaluating potential consequences of the future treaty on industrial designs on low- and middle-income economies, as well as least-developed countries (LDCs).

    At the last meeting of the committee, developing countries said further work was needed on the study while developed countries deemed that no such work was necessary. The plenary could not agree on either option, and the WIPO General Assembly in October did not mention the study in its recommendations to the SCT.

    Drafting work kept delegates busy for the first three days of the meeting, and discussions on draft articles and draft regulations are supposed to come to a close tomorrow (13 December), when member states are expected to discuss technical assistance, capacity building and the study on the impact of the work of the SCT.

    The exercise is difficult, as most countries already have legislation covering industrial designs, and harmonising the different systems would in some cases require amending those national legislations. Committee Chair Imre Gonda of the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office reminded the plenary that the treaty was not meant to accommodate all national legislation but to create convergence for the benefit of users. He also said the instrument does not cover substantial issues, but only formalities.

    A number of drafting proposals were issued by countries, among which were several proposals by Canada [pdf] (on division of application, grace period for filing in case of disclosure, representation of designs), a proposal from India [pdf] (division of application), a proposal by Chile [pdf] (request for recording of a licence or a security interest), a joint proposal [pdf] from Canada and the United States (new article and rule on restoration of priority rights, and a non-paper [pdf] by the chair (details concerning the application).

    Those proposals refer to several areas of the draft articles and draft regulations, notably the representation of the industrial designs, and whether this representation might include matter that does not form part of the claimed design, and if this matter should be shown by dotted or broken lines (Regulation 3.2 – Details concerning representation of the industrial design).

    Another area which prompted proposals was the division of application in the case where an office receives an application containing several industrial designs. The question is whether the office, under the new treaty, would have an obligation to provide the possibility to the applicant to amend or divide and re-submit his/her application, or if this would be optional.

    A further question was to know whether the applicant could keep the filing date of his/her first application (Article 8 – Division of applications). India and Canada each issued a textual proposal on the matter. Multiple designs in one application is not currently possible in India, said the delegate.

    The WIPO secretariat is expected to take all comments and proposals into account in drafting a new version of the draft articles and regulations for the next session of the SCT.

    Developing Countries Engaged, Still Careful

    A number of developing countries, in particular India, China and some Latin American countries, have been actively discussing the drafting of the articles and regulations. The Development Agenda Group said from the outset of the meeting that they support the drafting exercise, and that the work of the SCT should be guided by the recommendations of the WIPO Development Agenda.

    On Monday, Brazil, in an opening statement [doc] on behalf of the DAG, said although the DAG is supportive of the drafting exercise this week, it recalled that member states “started discussing the issue without a clear negotiating mandate. In just a few sessions of this committee, what was meant to be a debate turned into a new norm-setting activity.”

    Recalling that at the last session of the SCT, the chair concluded that “SCT was not in agreement on a recommendation to the WIPO General Assembly concerning the convening of a diplomatic conference,” the delegate said “We were surprised to see, in the last General Assembly, attempts to overcome the conclusions of this Committee as regards the next steps to be taken,” though they were to no avail, he added.

    It is not clear for many member states whether “the advantages of implementing harmonised procedures for design registration will compensate for the price paid, including adapting domestic regulations and also developing infrastructure and technology necessary to process industrial design applications in the harmonised way,” he said, reiterating the importance of continued work on the study. “Consideration must also be given to the economic impacts of the proposed treaty, especially in domestic design industries of developing countries.”

    The Group B developed countries reiterated the urgent need for a treaty to serve all users, and the European Union concurred.

    Korea said the treaty would simplify formalities, would make it easier, cheaper and quicker to register designs without the need of a sophisticated infrastructure.

    The study should be discussed tomorrow, as well as a document prepared by the secretariat on provisions regarding technical assistance and capacity building in treaties administered by WIPO.

    The African Group also submitted a proposal [pdf] expected to be examined tomorrow. The proposal consists of a list of articles to be included in the draft treaty, including special and differential treatment for developing and least-developed countries, and technical and financial assistance and capacity building.

    Catherine Saez may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

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